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Sunny intervals and scattered showers – as seen on a roof in Peckham

Yesterday some Samizdatistas met up on the roof of a multi-story car park in Peckham, where there just happens to be a semi open air restaurant (i.e. open air but under a canvass roof), which operates over the weekends of the summer. I first blogged about it here, but never since, I now realise, even though this is not the first time we’ve all met there. It is a splendid place, which looks like this:


That shot was taken during a favourite photography time: during sunshine, after rain. The rain cleans the air, and the sun then shines through it, to delightful effect.

Believe it or not, that cement muddle thing in the foreground is Art. But it was Art that was really suffering from the rain. Art in the outdoors shouldn’t do that, should it? Well, maybe it would be better if quite a lot of outdoor Art did just get rained out of existence, like a sandcastle being washed away by the tide (and many a sandcastle has deserved better than that).

And boy did the rain rain. Rain is not easy to photo, in my experience, but this rain was so violent that, what with the marginal cost of digital photography being zero, I just snapped and snapped, hoping I’d get lucky.

And I did:


I wasn’t the only one of us taking photos:


That’s Rob Fisher, whose wife and young son were also present, which made it all a lot more fun. As for the spectacular view of the whole of central London that you see from this amazing spot, my favourite bits of that view this time involved the contrasting effects, on the same little scenes, of rain and not rain, sun and not sun.

I like the Docklands Towers whenever I see them, but yesterday, within the space of about one minute, they went from this …:


… to this:


And the Shard and nearby objects went from this …:


… to this:


The reason for the big red thing there is that it’s the red canvass roof, sagging down, filled with rain. A lot of rain. But none of us got a soaking, either getting there or after we left.

Happy times.

I strongly recommend a trip to this excellent place if your life fits in with doing that, or can be made to.

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2 comments to Sunny intervals and scattered showers – as seen on a roof in Peckham

  • The thing I love is how this venue (which has operated in the summer months for several years now) came to be. Southwark Council has a multi-storey car park in Peckham which (decades) ago was built to be much larger than is actually needed. Someone noticed that the top two floors were always empty and suggested that they be used for an art space in summer. Obviously, a bar/cafe/restaurant would nicely complement the art exhibits, and the rooftop with its spectacular views of London would be a suitable place for this. Thus, a very popular rooftop bar/cafe/restaurant has come into being. However, in order to do proper respect to “art” one has to walk past a large amount of corrugated iron which has seemingly been thrown randomly around on the floor below the restaurant.

    If someone had simply suggested opening a rooftop bar on top of the carpark, the council would have probably been unwilling or unable to agree to it. However, as long as it is about “art”, that’s fine, and good.

  • James Waterton

    I’m sure the Shard is a wonderful building and all, but when I see it as a shadow on the skyline, I just can’t help thinking Ryugyong Hotel. Sorry…